Exterior Inspection (above foundation)

Christopher Dunaway, Morgan, Alan L., Ring, Dennis R.  |  4/19/2012 1:48:39 AM

This is an extreme example of termite damage to an exterior wall. Notice the wavy wood and the termite “dirt” filling in cracks. (Photo by Chris Dunaway.)

Termite damage and swarm castles are common around window and door frames. (Photo by Chris Dunaway.)

Subterranean termites prefer to move high up into a structure. Swarm castles can frequently be found near the roofline. (Photo by Chris Dunaway.)

Once you get beyond the foundation, exterior inspections of structures are very similar across all construction types. The type of siding used on the structure is the main factor in determining where to look and what you will be able to see during an inspection.

Wood siding can show signs of infestation anywhere on the building. Look for damaged wood, termite “dirt” and swarm castles. In the spring, look for swarm castles to appear around window and door frames and at the roofline.

Brick, vinyl, aluminum, stucco and other non-cellulosic sidings typically offer little visibility. Inspectors should look for damage and swarm castles around window and door frames and any other exposed wood.

In addition to termite damage, inspectors should be on the lookout for conditions that are conducive to termite infestation:

  • Moisture damage can be a major concern. Left unchecked, water damage can have devastating effects on a structure. In addition, water problems can provide termites in the structure with necessary moisture, allow for alates to start new colonies and even attract termites. Frequently moisture damage is associated with defective or debris-filled gutters and with roof leaks.
  • Trees in contact with the structure.
  • Wood-to-ground contact.
  • Pipes, plumbing and other conduits.


    Content by: Chris Dunaway
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